Part of helping consumers “make the meal,” suggests 210 Analytics’ Anne-Marie Roerink, is drawing a straight line for them from a promotional price on a given item to creative ideas for how to use it and complementary items they might want to add to their cart (in store or online) as well.

“It isn’t just, ‘Hey, bacon is $3.99 this week,’” she says. “It’s ‘Scan the QR code from this bacon sign to see what else is on sale, or scan this code for recipes … Instead of saying, ‘Ground beef is $4.99,’ go from that meal component to the meal itself”—showcasing twists on Taco Tuesday that might use fresh-prepared salsa or private-label tortilla chips that are on sale this week, for example. As a shopper, it’s great to see something on sale, but you also want to be inspired, offers Roerink.

Herein lies a key strength for traditional grocers as well as large-format retailers (warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers) heading into 2024: With grocery, and fresh grocery in particular, as a starting point, food-centric retailers are in a better position to deliver the meal inspiration that consumers crave and help them get everything they need to make that meal in store.